Extra Point: What Happened to the 49ers?
To start things off, by no means have I lost faith in my beloved 49ers. Not only will they win this Super Bowl, but they will win every Super Bowl for the next 100 years.
But this season, I have noticed a drop in the 49ers intensity both offensively and defensively. Lets begin on the defensive side of the ball.
San Francisco, historically and currently, is considered a defensive powerhouse. They are one of those teams where you expect the other team to score less than 15 points every game. Flat out dominant. Specifically in the rushing game. The stat I find most showing is that they rank 18th in opposing rush yards. The 49ers should be, at the very least, a top five team in this category. Against the pass they haven't been bad, ranking 6th in opposing pass yards. The dip in rush defense can likely be resulting from the loss of Aldon Smith. Smith has been the anchor of the 49ers D for the last few years, and he is definitely missed on the line this year. But one player is not the team. Even with the loss of Smith, the Niners need to step their game up defensively. A great defense leads to a great offense, which is just what San Francisco needs.
The 49ers offense has been so-so this year as well. But so-so doesn't cut it. They are 3rd in rushing this season. That's fine by me. The issue lies in the passing game. 31st. Definitely not fine by me. Granted, this goes back to the loss of Michael Crabtree to injury over the off season. Crab and Kaepernick locked up last year to become a formidable duo in the league. But again, one player is not the team. The 49ers have plenty of receivers who can and should step up into Crabtree's roll, namely Anquan Boldin. There is a certain amount of blame that should go to Kaepernick as well. He needs to be looking down field a little more, and get the 49ers back to their dynamic, explosive offense they found at the end of last season.
Again, San Francisco is still a dominant team in the NFL. But as the season approaches the half-way mark, they certainly need to shuffle some things up if they want to overtake teams like Seattle.
All stats via espn.com